Friday, August 28, 2009

Providence Provision and Promise

It is so good to finally have some clear direction. I met with the missions staff at The Village Church a couple of weeks ago and walked through what it will look like for that body to send me to New Guinea (NG) with New Tribes Mission (NTM).

My heart was set on going to go to PNG, and I was supposed to leave in January. I had to pause for a minimum of six months due to the melanoma. It was hard to put everything on hold and trust that God knew best and had it under control. I had postponed raising support until my doctor was comfortable with letting me leave the country as she needed to find out more information on the cancer. The second set of tests have come back clear!

Over two years had passed since I started support raising and preparing to head to PNG. It seemed as though a life-time had passed. In that time of waiting my frustration gave way to prayer. I begged God to be so real in this situation that it would be impossible to miss his hand and his guidance.

I started working with a non-profit that helps with refugee assimilation and evangelism. It allows me to work cross culturally here in Dallas and reach un-reached people in the neighborhood where I live.

Being in Dallas an additional 6 months also allowed me to go to East Africa on a vision trip with my church. It was tough to see so much need and angst and Islamic hostility to Christianity. The darkness of the Muslim world is overwhelming. It was a real encouragement to see the believers there stand for their faith in spite of it possibly meaning their death. One man who had been beaten and left for dead over 7 times was still getting up again to tell of our God. It really pressed on me the value of the gospel and that I need to look at each moment with value and spend it well.

This time has stretched me in so many ways. My travels and my working with refugees has only confirmed in me the desire and conviction to be in those places were the gospel has yet to be preached. No matter if it is here in Dallas with refugees or in NG with tribal peoples who have never heard, I will preach the gospel as loud as I can.

I also started dating an amazing woman named Amy Smith a few months ago. She has been a real blessing in my life and it is really encouraging to watch her selflessly serve the refugee families here. I recently asked her to marry me and she said yes! I thank God every day for bringing her into my life. She has spent time overseas and was pursuing going with Africa Inland Mission as a nurse when we met. We are now traveling this road together, going wherever God would open the door.

We will be going to PNG in January for Interface so Amy can get to know NTM a bit and PNG culture. From there, we will travel to NTM headquarters in Lapilo. Amy can work in the clinic and get a feel for medicine there. Then we’ll head to Hoskins, where  I will work on construction projects and Amy will work in the clinic at the base. We’ll be able to get to know the people we could be partnering with in ministry. In addition, it will allow us the opportunity to see what vocational training we should pursue to better enable us in ministry.

As much as I would like to be in PNG now, a lot of prayer and the counsel of church leadership and mentors has changed that.  Amy and I have decided to go through two years of training before going to New Guinea long-term. Our hope is that this route will best prepare us for life and long-term ministry, not to mention, learning how to live together and love each other well! This also gives my doctor the additional six months of tests that she would like. Our church leadership is excited to pursue this with us.

With full-time training and a trip ahead of us, there is definitely a financial need. I have been returning to people who had committed to supporting me before and asking for their support again. Funds will now be going through Free City, the training organization of The Village Church. Please email me for specifics immediately, or feel free to call me 469-644-6157.

We hope to find 200 people to partner with us financially at $300 a year or $25 a month. We ask that you all consider being a part of this. We can’t do it without you being involved. We will be sending out more info on how you can do this in the next couple of weeks.  Right now, please pray for us in this season of transition, and feel free to pass this along to anyone you may know who might be interested in joining us in this time as well.

Thank you,
Ryan Carpenter